Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The future of the Hubble Telescope -- Part III

So now that we've seen some reasons that people espouse for not servicing the Hubble Space Telescope, I'll present my arguments why we should service Hubble. (Let me state for the record that these are personal opinions, not necessarily those of my employer or anybody else, etc., etc., etc.) Some of these were hinted at before, but I'll spell it out explicitly here. :)
  1. The Hubble Telescope can be completely repaired. With new batteries, new gyroscopes, and two new cameras, the Hubble Space Telescope could last up to ten more years. Without repair, it will not last more than two.
  2. The Hubble Telescope has unique capabilities that will not be replaced any time soon. Hubble's power to see blue light sharper than from the ground and its power to see ultraviolet light invisible from the ground have no planned replacement. It would hurt astronomy to lose these abilities.
  3. Hubble has two brand new cameras ready to be installed. Two new cameras, one replacing a broken camera on Hubble, and the other replacing an aging instrument that's still working, have already been built. It would waste millions of dollars not to use these instruments. There has been talk that these two cameras could be put on a "Hubble Lite" telescope, but as of now no such design exists, and more importantly no money exists to build such a telescope.
  4. It will be at least 7 years before the next space telescope is ready to fly. Not much more to say there, other than, knowing NASA, it could easily be 15 years or more before the actual launch.
  5. Hubble has captured the hearts of people around the world. NASA and astronomers have done an outstanding job showing off Hubble's accomplishments. Many people forget that the Hubble Telescope started off with blurry vision that was fixed by astronauts a couple of years later. Since that time, we have gotten amazing pictures of the distant universe, detailed looks at nearby galaxies, and fantastic shots of amazing things in our own galaxy.

So, there you go. Make up your own mind about what you think should happen to Hubble, and let your representatives and senators in Congress know. They control the purse strings in all of this!

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